Send to

Choose Destination
Front Med (Lausanne). 2017 Aug 21;4:141. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2017.00141. eCollection 2017.

Vasopressin Receptor Antagonists in Hyponatremia: Uses and Misuses.

Author information

Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.
Department of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, United States.


Decreases in the concentration of sodium in plasma constitute hyponatremia, the commonest electrolyte disorder in clinical medicine. It is now well established that its presence conveys an increased mortality risk even when the decrement is mild. In addition, recent evidence suggests that chronic and apparently asymptomatic hyponatremia is associated with increased morbidity including neurocognitive deficits and bone fractures. Furthermore, hyponatremia is associated with higher health care-related expenses. Consequently, exploring new therapeutic strategies that increase plasma sodium in a safe and effective manner is of paramount importance. In this regard, there are scant data to support the use of traditional management strategies for hyponatremia (fluid restriction, salt tablets, loop diuretics, and normal saline). Furthermore, data from a large hyponatremia registry reveal the limited efficacy of these therapies. More recently vasopressin receptor antagonists provide a promising treatment for hyponatremia by targeting its most common mechanism, namely, increased vasopressin activity. However, uncertainty still lingers as to the optimal indications for the use of vasopressin receptor antagonists in hyponatremia and a few reports have described complications resulting from their misuse. This review summarizes the appropriate and inappropriate uses of vasopressin receptor antagonists in the treatment of hyponatremia.


hyponatremia; osmotic demyelination syndrome; vaptans; vasopressin; vasopressin antagonists

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Frontiers Media SA Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center